Tom Banwell’s masks are some of the most recognizable and unique Steampunk masks out there right now. With Halloween approaching fast, there is a pressing necessity for something unique and standout from the crowds of cheap, pre-assembled costumes. I do believe I recognize one of his pieces from the Steampunk art exhibition at the Museums of the History of Science in Oxford, England.
Mr. Banwell is a largely self taught artist. Here’s a brief bio about his background and artistic inspirations from his website:
I have no formal art training, and am largely self taught. I have dabbled in a variety of media over the years, including batik, woodcarving, mixed media art dolls and leatherworking.
Creating art in a steampunk genre suits me exceedingly well because it combines several of my interests—history, costuming, mechanics and fantasy—and I can bring these together and get wildly creative in my leatherwork.
As a child I was fascinated with helmets and other hats, and I collected them. As an adult I’ve had a business designing and making men’s Western leather hats that sold throughout the United States. My current business is casting custom resin pieces, and much of that work consists of imitating other materials: bronze, marble, wood, etc.
In my creative leatherwork I draw on this experience and incorporate resin components into my artwork. Today I find my greatest creative expression in fantasy masks and helmets. I love experimenting and seeing how leather will behave when cut and soaked and twisted. I love the shapes and the colors, and how my masks and helmets can instantly transform the wearer into a whole other character.
My studio is in the little town of Rough and Ready, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in northern California.
So, if you’re looking for the perfect mask to go with that Steampunk ensemble you are assembling for Halloween, or just looking for the finishing to touches to your Steam driven wardrobe, you won’t fun much more unique or quality work with Mr. Banwell’s works of wearable art.